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EventCity Manchester Excels with Huawei 10 G Campus Network Solutions

EventCity Manchester is the leading event, exhibition, and conference venue in the North of England. Serving a regional population of approximately 6.8 million people, EventCity Manchester provides the second largest event space outside of London, and is the most dynamic and growing event brand in the UK. Established in 2010, the facility includes 4 halls totaling 36,000 square meters. Each year, EventCity Manchester hosts more than 45 events, including concerts, conferences, and exhibitions.

The management of EventCity Manchester realized early on that ICT, and specifically a scalable, reliable and fast local network, was key to customer satisfaction. For EventCity, the challenge was to build an infrastructure that would meet their current ICT requirements, while simultaneously being flexible and scalable enough to accommodate new technologies and challenges over the next 5 to 10 years. Therefore, in concert with their ICT partner, The Hub Group, EventCity chose to implement a modern and forward-thinking ICT environment that uses Huawei's 10 G campus network solution as its foundation.

Requirements: Ultra-Fast, Reliable, and Flexible Core Network

When EventCity opened in 2011, their business model was quite straightforward: provide the best exhibition services in the country. Initial efforts focused on creating a unique and versatile space with all the physical requirements for supporting major events. However, EventCity Manchester was not expected to grow so quickly (for example, winning the X-Factor Live Auditions Manchester), so the initial ICT infrastructure was soon oversubscribed. Prior to engaging with The Hub Group, the core ICT network was a mixture of ad hoc switches and routers from various vendors. However, it rapidly became apparent that in order to provide the services demanded by exhibitors and visitors, EventCity required an ultra-fast, reliable, and flexible core network.

Although the services required by EventCity's customers can vary depending on the type of show, there is a consistent demand for reliable, high-speed networking. Service requirements include high-speed Internet access, VPN access, online point-of-sale transactions, remote office access, video conferencing, CCTV, and IPTV.

Huawei's 10 G Campus Network Solution

The Hub Group analyzed EventCity's business model and their existing infrastructure and determined the following requirements for the new network:

• Bandwidth and scalability: EventCity Manchester required a network with capacity for a large number of simultaneous users, plus room for high-bandwidth applications such as video gaming and video.

• Support for BYOD: Each exhibitor and visitor to the exhibition site brings his or her own devices. Therefore, EventCity, acting as an ISP, must have strong BYOD policies in place.

• Resiliency, reliability, and high availability: The network must deliver high levels of uptime during events. The equipment must be built to survive the rugged environments of an active exhibition hall.

• Energy-saving network design: The specification requires that all power management savings can be passed onto the exhibitors.

EventCity and their parent company, The Peel Group, have enjoyed an active collaboration with The Hub Group, their local Huawei ICT partner, for their infrastructure upgrade. While this project initially focused on only EventCity Manchester, Peel understood that achieving their worldwide growth goals (in property, ports, media, hotels, advertising, renewable energy, etc.), they needed an innovative, flexible, and global ICT provider. The Hub Group recommended that Peel standardize on the Huawei's 10 G Campus Network Solution to achieve their economy of scale goals across the entire company.

The Huawei network deployed by EventCity Manchester consists of two Huawei S6700 24 EI Mainframe core switches, one Eudemon 200e-X3 AC Host Firewall with content manager license, six Huawei S5700 28c PWR EI Mainframe switches, and three Huawei S5700 52c PWR EI Mainframe switches.

Advantages: Significantly Increased Performance and Availability

EventCity gained significant advantages due to the increased performance and availability of Huawei's 10 G Campus Network upgrade.

The new network helps EventCity to attract major exhibitions that would have been impossible without the high-bandwidth provided by the 10 G Campus Network. An example of high-end network requirements faced by EventCity Manchester was the Play Expo video game exhibition, held in October 2012, with over 250 exhibitors that required ultra-fast/low latency connections for video game demos and contests.

Another key benefit, with the Huawei Eudemon firewall and content manager license in place, EventCity Manchester is now able to safely offer BYOD to its customers, while maintaining a secure Internet delivery environment to a large population of visitors.

Finally, Huawei offered a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) that its competitors could not match. The Huawei 10 G solution was priced competitively with other vendors' 1 G network offerings, making the overall cost of the Huawei solution to be significantly less in price and complexity.

Voice of the Customer

"At any point during an event at EventCity Manchester, we can have 14,000 visitors at the site, with up to 35,000 over a weekend. From the start, the Huawei network has provided a much better event experience for our customers, by allowing virtually all our attendees to log-on and use our services."

– Andy Orr, Managing Director, EventCity

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